The landscape is changing; not how we should watch movies but how we consume media. Those that consider themselves content producers have a choice: adopt to the changing times or continue with the present strategy. Watching last night’s Oscar telecast showcase Hollywood’s response to the changing tide: we really get the Internet and understand the cultural shift towards everything online and on-demand but we will not changing a damn thing!
The theme for last night’s Academy Awards – besides showcasing lackluster movies with a host that caters to anyone over 55 in a theater where the right’s holder filed for bankruptcy last month – was to celebrate watching movies in the theater instead of alone at home. All night long, the telecast featured segments of directors, actors, writers and other Hollywood people tell us about their first movie and how it affected them.
“We want to celebrate the collective community experience which is my indelible memory of movies, magnified by seeing it with hundreds of people,” Oscar broadcast producer Brian Grazer told Deadline.com’s Nikki Finke. “Otherwise, it doesn’t have the same emotional impact.”
This is where the folks in la-la-land differ than the rest of us as the people the run the movie studios as well as those that work in the industry usually have private screenings or can watch those movies at home while the rest of us have to pay $7 (up to $15 in New York) for a ticket [double for a 3D movie], $15 for popcorn and a drink, sit through what seems like an endless amount of commercials, movie trailers for remakes of old movies or TV shows as well as the sequels and the don’t-pirate-this-movie segment.
Not to mention those audience members that can’t turn off their phones and start texting and/or skimming Facebook on their phones.
Hollywood can try to convince us that the movie-going experience still matters and that we should run to their nearest movie theater and pay money to see a black-and-white, not in widescreen, silent movie.
But we don’t.
We want to watch a movie at home where we can pause the film to go to the bathroom or answer a phone call. A place where we can eat a steak, drink beer and watch Transformer 9 in the living room. And best of all, no crying babies, no young people checking their phone, no teenagers making out on the back row.
A disturbance-free movie experience is what people want, Hollywood knows this and will try everything to prevent it from coming.
Warner Brothers announced last month that the availability of new release titles will be increased to 56 days from 28 days for customers to rent. Netflix agreed to the new terms while Blockbuster and RedBox will buy those titles the same day they are released. Movie studios are also reluctant to Netlfix’s streaming service as they fear it will decrease DVD sales.
While most are dismissive, some see the turning tide: The Weinstein Group, whose movies include last night’s Best Picture winner The Artist, The Iron Lady and last year’s Best Picture winner The King’s Speech, signed an agreement to stream it’s catalog on Netflix.
But the majority in Hollywood will continue to dismiss these new services, they will still insist that consumers watch movies in a theater and consumers will continue to hold out until a movie is available on DVD, streaming or portable formats.
Maybe next year, the Academy Awards will be in the Amazon Instant Video theater, the Netflix theater or the iTheater – or worst, The Pirate Bay Theater.